Something wonderful happened this week. I hit my goal of reaching 1000 followers on Instagram. I know that might seem a mere few to some, but I am so grateful to each and every one of you. Hitting this goal really helps me as a business, and it spurred me on to write this post because I think it is so important.
A blogger, ‘influencer’, ‘social media personality’, whatever you call us… hopefully positive attributions, but I know that isn’t always the case.
*I really dislike the word influencer as I feel it has negative connotations, but it is recognised by most people in reference to anyone who blogs, posts on youtube or any other platform, so that is what I will use throughout.
I happened to stumble across a tweet a few months ago. It was a short message from a bookshop, pleading with people to go in and purchase a book, after their shop had only received £12 that day. Thousands of people got behind this tweet, and were encouraging people to go in and buy, to support a small business in need. The power of social media.
We only took £12.34 today😔…if anyone was thinking about buying a book now would be a great time! Things have been tough recently – today the worst day ever. A card,a book,anything makes a huge difference to a small business like ours. We’d be very grateful for your support.
— ImaginedThings Books (@ImaginedThings) June 25, 2018
Having scanned the replies at the time I felt so proud for their family. The support they received was very well deserved, and I am so happy for them that they managed to rack up sales thanks to that one tweet.
Obviously that was a few months ago, and I had completely forgot that it had happened until earlier this week.
A blogger friend of mine posted something on Facebook, asking what people thought when they see “#ad” on Instagram or Facebook from a blogger. I was so disappointed to see people admit that they actively dismiss these kinds of posts/images because they believe them to be biased or lies, or just simply because they are an advertisement.
I’ve seen people in the past admitting that they ask Facebook not to show them that content anymore. I’ve also seen people purposely unfollow accounts that actively share ads, because they didn’t think “they were that type of person”.
So why do people support dying business’ that offer physical products, but dismiss those of us who offer a different kind of service?
You could say that influencers are the way forward now. Everything has moved online.
People read kindles instead of printed books. You have push notifications for the news coming directly to your phone. You can read articles online for free, instead of buying a paper from your local newsagent. I fear it won’t be long before these physical copies of everything are gone, simply because nobody wants to buy them anymore.
Obviously it is great news for us, the bloggers, who spend most days trying to find work by sending lengthy emails to brands in hope that we will get a reply. A lot of the time we don’t receive anything back.
Every deal we secure is technically a sale, and they’re harder to come by than most people think. Especially those who aren’t in this industry. Unless you’re a successful YouTube channel or have thousands of followers on a social media platform, you need to work your arse off to get brands to believe in you. Even then, if nobody interacts with your posts, you’re unlikely to get any work.
Look at it this way:
You secure the work with a brand. Then, you spend hours writing the blog post and take about 100 pictures to showcase the product with props you have bought with your own money. You go through and edit the few pictures you like, and finally, you proudly post everything on social media. In return, people click “don’t show me this anymore”.
Imagine how disheartening that is.
Engagement with our followers is key for us to succeed. Every like, every comment and every share. Even the amount of people who see our posts helps. If you’re hiding the posts, it means we are losing out on engagement from the people who mean the most to us. If you’re unfollowing someone because they have posted an ad, it suggests that you’re happy to read or watch the content, but you would rather they did it for free. In what world would that ever be okay?
The majority of us earn tiny amounts that don’t equate to a full time minimum wage job, even though we put way more hours in than necessary, just to get things right. The bloggers & ‘influencers’ who earn a larger amount completely deserve it too, because I can almost guarantee that they are constantly striving and working to publish even better content for their readers and viewers daily.
When I seen the reaction that the tweet above received, it made me realise that I have never seen anything on the same scale when it comes to online work.
If your favourite YouTuber tweeted that they weren’t doing well with ad revenue, I can only imagine what people would say. They’d be called ungrateful, privileged, and it would be written off as a first world problem.
When you think of a struggling book shop on your local high street, you think of a family who won’t eat for a week. You worry about what the closure of the business would do, and you try to support them in every way possible. Of course you do, because we are all human and the thought of that happening to someones family is heartbreaking. It is so sad that a lot of people don’t realise it is the exact same situation for anyone who runs an online “unconventional” business. The only difference is that we aren’t going to lose a physical location to work, as we are already in our own home.
The main problem is that I think people believe blogging or doing anything online is easy, and it really isn’t. This isn’t a sponsored post, and the picture above is one I had taken a few months ago that was ready to go. Still, it has taken me almost all day to write, re-write and spell check this post, just so I know I am articulating my points well and that I won’t come across the wrong way. If people understood the level of work I truly believe they would see bloggers in a different light.
I am going to stop going on now as this is way longer than I ever anticipated it to be, but just before I go…
When you see an ad, remember that it may have put a meal on the table for somebody that night, or it may have bought their child a birthday present. Anything.
Oh, and of course I’m not saying you have to support anyone. You don’t have to do anything. What I am trying to say, is if you follow someone who provides content that you like and you read often, or even if their Instagram pictures bring a smile to your face… you can repay them by liking their occasional ad, or commenting on it with your experience, even if it’s a negative one.
It’s a lot cheaper than buying a physical product, but just as valuable to us. I promise.